Connolly: Labour and Easter Week

Pdf Labour and Easter Week: a selection from the writings of James Connolly
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James Connolly was born in Edinburgh in 1868, the son of Irish parents. He began his working life at age of ten. Connolly was largely a self-educated man who became a brilliant speaker and writer. He was attracted into politics by the Labour movement and drawn through it to Ireland.  

Connolly’s rise to prominence came in 1913 during the Dublin Lockout, and in October 1914 he became General Secretary of the Irish Transport and General Workers` Union and commander of the Irish Citizen Army (ICA).

Under his guidance, the ICA became a powerful force. With just 220 members in 1912, it was extremely well disciplined, trained and ideologically united. The ultimate goal was an independent Irish republic. With war breaking out toward the end of 1915, Connolly committed himself to the goal of a successful uprising against British Rule in Ireland. His new persona of military commandant and logician lead him to reach an agreement in mid-January 1916 with the Irish Republican Brotherhood Military Council to co-operate in an insurrection the following Easter. He joined this Council, and on the day before the Rising, was appointed by the members as vice-president of the Irish Republic and Commandant-General, Dublin Division, Irish Army.

On Easter Monday, 24th April, he led the Headquarters Battalion from Liberty Hall to the General Post Office and commanded military operations there throughout the week. Following the failure of the rising, Connolly was executed by firing squad at Kilmainham Jail along with fourteen of his comrades.

Labour and Easter Week is a collection of Connolly’s writings and speeches from the years 1898-1916. ‘The Roots of Modern War’, ‘Ireland – Disaffected or revolutionary?’, ‘What is a Free Nation’ are among the writings included. The introduction to this book is presented by William O’Brien, who provides the background to the history and politics of the time and Connolly’s involvement in the organization of the Easter Rising. O’Brien traces this story up to the proclamation of the Irish Republic on Easter Monday, 1916. The introduction also includes a number of personal encounters O’Brien had with Connolly, providing an insight into Connolly’s character.

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